Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Reheating Sous Vide Beef

Because I've been using sous vide to cook a lot of meat lately, invariably there are leftovers.  So I asked myself, what's the best way to reheat the meat?

Probably the absolute best way would be to bring it back to serving temperature in a water bath.  But that seems like it would take too long.  And waste too many of my plastic bags.

Instead, I decided to try out 3 different methods:
  1. Microwave - quick and dirty method normally used for reheating a variety of foods.
  2. Pan fry - reheat and get some more crust, but will it overcook it?
  3. Blowtorch - reheat the outside very quickly and create additional crust, but will it warm the whole thing?
Here we have 3 pieces of meat straight out of the refrigerator.  You can see the congealed fat (yum!).

Here are those same 3 pieces after each has been reheated according to one of the methods above.  Can you guess which piece was reheated in which manner?

The microwave method took about a minute.  I was afraid of overcooking the meat before heating it to a good temperature since the slices weren't that thick to begin with.  After 30 seconds in a rotating microwave, some of the congealed fat still hadn't melted, so I did an additional 30 seconds.  I heard it pop the second time, so I'm thinking maybe 20 seconds, rest, 20 seconds might be a good amount in the future.

The pan fry method took about a minute on each side once the pan with some butter had been heated to medium low.  I actively pressed down on the meat a bit to create some extra crust.  It certainly smelled delicious.

The blowtorch method took all of 30 seconds.  I torched each side for a little while until it looked like the fat on the outside had all melted and the piece browned a little.

Which method did I like the best?  Surprisingly, it was a tie between the pan fry method and the microwave method.  The pan fry method had an amazing crust but the meat was a bit tougher on the inside.  The microwave method was super tender and definitely the juiciest of the three, but with no crust.

Sadly, the blowtorch method failed to produce a better crust than the pan fry method and also failed to reheat the meat entirely through.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sous Vide Tri-Tip Roast

I took a different (cheaper) cut of meat, a roast that you would normally (over)cook in an oven or slow cooker for an extended period of time to tenderize it and sous vided it for 24 hours at 146 degrees F.

The result?  Amazingly tender meat!  It seriously tasted like a good steak.

And what was just the icing on the cake of this deliciously prepared steak was the juice from the meat.  Pure goodness ... just like the jellied stock from the brisket post.  Except this time I simply served it on the side, meat au jus!

This meat was also accompanied by some vegetables (shocking, I know ...).  Some swiss chard sautéed with some of the au jus!

Green = good, right??

Finished meal:

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Sausage Casserole

Perfect for those lazy Saturday morning brunches!  I love brunch, btw, I think it's probably my favorite meal ever.  That or breakfast.

Necessary ingredients:

First, brown the sausage!

Then, mix the sausage to the frozen hash browns and add some cheese!

Stir with abandon!

I like to use the hot Italian sausage in this case because I feel it really adds a nice kick to the finished casserole.  Mmm!

In a separate bowl, scramble 4-6 eggs (also depending on how much of the hash browns you used - I think I used about 2/3rds of the bag) with some milk/cream.

Mix everything together and pour into a 9x13 casserole dish.  Bake covered for approximately 30 minutes and then uncovered until the top browns slightly (or until you think it's done ... there's plenty of room for adjustments)!

The biscuits are an optional but tasty addition, especially if you put the mixture inside the biscuit like a breakfast sandwich!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Quick Dinner and the 5 Hour Egg

So one day I got home and had approximately 20 minutes to make and eat dinner before I had to leave again.  What was I to do??

I opened the fridge and surveyed the contents ... pulling out the things that looked tasty to me:
- 1 bag of spinach
- 1 kielbasa
- 1 block white cheddar cheese
- 1 container teriyaki sauce

Then I set about combining the ingredients in a delicious manner:
  1. Slice the kielbasa - easy enough, right?
  2. Toss into a pan with a little oil over medium heat
  3. Rinse the spinach and put into a bowl
  4. Add the sauteed keilbasa
  5. Shred some cheese on top
  6. Drizzle some teriyaki sauce over the mixture
Total hardware used: 1 pan, 1 knife, 1 cutting board, 1 grater.
Total time used: ~5 minutes
Taste: amazingly delicious!

To me, this dish works because of all the contrasts.  The cool crisp greens and the warm tender kielbasa, the sweet tanginess of the teriyaki sauce and the creamy goodness of the slightly melted cheddar cheese.

Some Saturday after that, when I had more time, I decided I would try another extreme experiment, this time with eggs!  I had come across this post earlier and so I thought I'd try it.

It's pretty easy!

Oven -> 200 degrees or so.
Eggs -> into oven.

Wait 5 hours!

Very interesting flavors.  I could definitely taste the "nuttiness" and "browned flavors" that were talked about, but I'd say it's not worth 5 hours except as a novelty thing.

I'll have to try this again, except in more controlled temperature conditions - sous vide, perhaps?  =]

Maybe like this.  4 hours at 154 deg F, here I come!